“Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.”
(2 Corinthians 4:13-14 ESV)
We live in a society, today, where we’re encouraged to keep our faith to ourselves. Evangelism is discouraged and is characterized as intolerance and hate speech. It’s branded in this way because our intention is that people would turn from their current belief to a faith in Jesus. Our intent is that people might turn from their current practices that they might follow Christ.
Many who profess the name of Christ have bowed to the pressure. They seek to practice their faith on their own, and don’t speak of it outside of church or their home. They’ve bought into the lie that we’re to be accepting of other people. And, because of this, they allow others to continue along the path to destruction.
Paul, in the above passage, paints a different picture. He paints a picture that is very convicting and challenging. He tells us that his proclamation of the gospel results from his faith.
His hope in Christ, his hope of the resurrection, caused him to speak out. It caused him to proclaim this hope to those around him. It caused him to speak out regardless of the circumstances that he faced (he references this in verses 7-12).
I find this convicting because it forces me to ask this question of myself: Does may faith do the same? Does my hope in Christ cause me to share the gospel with those around me? And if not, why is this true?
Our faith will naturally lead us to share the gospel with those around us. Realizing our sin, realizing the suffering that we deserve, and knowing the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, how can we not speak out? This hope implants within us the desire that others might receive the same blessing as us. It implants within us the desire that others might receive the forgiveness and salvation that Christ has provided for them.
This, after all, is God’s desire. We’re told in Scripture that God does not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11). He desires for all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
Our hope in Christ will cause us to speak out even if it means suffering on our part. It grants to us a willingness to suffer for the sake of others. We know that, even if our very life is demanded of us, no one can take away the salvation that has been provided for us by the Lord.
If our faith in Christ does not lead us to speak, if it does not lead us to share the gospel, what does this suggest? What does it tell us about our faith? If we fail to share God’s heart for the lost, if we are unwilling to carry out the calling he’s entrusted to us, and if we are not willing to suffer for the sake of those who are perishing, what does this suggest about our hope?
We must pray, then, that the Lord will work in our heart. We must pray that he will give to us a true understanding of what he’s done for us. We must pray that he will give to us a desire for others to receive the same grace that’s been provided to us. We must pray that he will give to us such a great hope that we might be willing to lay down our life that others might know his salvation.